FRENCH comedy, a very English murder thriller, state-of-the-nation politics and police procedures stir Charles Hutchinson into action for the week ahead.
Comedy gigs of the week: Dawn French Is A Huge Twat, York Barbican, tonight and tomorrow, 7.30pm
HER show is so named because, unfortunately, it is horribly accurate, says self-mocking comedian and actress Dawn French. “There have been far too many times I have made stupid mistakes or misunderstood something vital or jumped the gun in a spectacular display of twattery,” she explains.
“I thought I might tell some of these buttock-clenching embarrassing stories to give the audience a peek behind the scenes of my work life.” Tickets update: Limited availability at yorkbarbican.co.uk.
Tonight, meanwhile, Sarah Millican plays a Work In Progress gig at Pocklington Arts Centre at 8pm. Sold out already alas.
Thriller of the week: Original Theatre Company in Murder In The Dark, York Theatre Royal, Tuesday to Saturday, 7.30pm plus 2pm Thursday and 2.30pm Saturday matinees
TOM Chambers and Susie Blake star in Torben Betts’s new ghost story chiller cum psychological thriller, set on New Year’s Eve, when a crash on a deserted road brings washed-up singer Danny Sierra and his dysfunctional family to an isolated holiday cottage in rural England.
From the moment they arrive, inexplicable events begin to occur…and then the lights go out, whereupon deeply buried secrets come to light. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Children’s show of the week: Magic, Monsters and Mayhem with Robin Simpson, Bluebird Bakery, Acomb Road, Acomb, tomorrow, 4.30pm
YORK Theatre Royal pantomime dame Robin Simpson – he will be playing Dame Trott in Jack And The Beanstalk this winter – switches to storyteller mode to journey back to magic school on Sunday afternoon.
He will be telling stories of wonderful creatures, exciting adventures and “more magic than you can wave a wand” as he places the audience in charge of an interactive show ideal for Harry Potter fans. Suitable for Key Stage 2, but smaller siblings are welcome too, along with Potter-potty grown-ups. Box office: bluebirdbakery.co.uk.
Police spotted operating in the vicinity: Mikron Theatre in A Force To Be Reckoned With, Clements Hall, Nunthorpe Road, York, tomorrow, 4pm
IN Amanda Whittington’s new play for Marsden travelling players Mikron Theatre, fresh from police training school, WPC Iris Armstrong is ready for whatever the mean streets of a 1950s’ northern market town can throw at her.
Joining forces with fellow WPC Ruby Weston, they make an unlikely partnership, a two-woman department, called to any case involving women and children, from troublesome teens to fraudulent fortune tellers. Box office: 07974 867301 or 01904 466086, or in person from Pextons, Bishopthorpe Road, York.
Songwriting bond of the week: Kathryn Williams & Polly Paulusma: The Big Sky Tour, Pocklington Arts Centre, Tuesday, 8pm
AS label buddies on One Little Independent Records, Kathryn Williams and Polly Paulusma met on a song-writing retreat. They wrote songs together and tutored courses at Arvon Foundation and as their friendship developed and strengthened, they supported each other over lockdown.
It seemed a foregone conclusion that they would tour together at some point. Finally, those Thelma and Louise dreams – hopefully without the killing or the cliff finale – come true on a month-long itinerary, playing solo sets and uniting for a few songs. Box office: pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.
Streets ahead: Mike Skinner’s film The Darker The Shadow The Brighter The Light and Q&A, Everyman Leeds, September 21, 8pm; Everyman York, September 25, 7pm
THE Streets’ Mike Skinner presents his debut feature film, the “neo-noir” clubland thriller The Darker The Shadow The Brighter The Light, in an exclusive Q&A tour to Everyman cinemas.
Birmingham multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Skinner funded, wrote, directed, filmed, edited and scored his cinematic account of the seemingly mundane life of a DJ whose journey through London’s nightclubs turns into a tripped-out modern-day murder mystery. Each screening will be followed by a live question-and-answer session with Skinner, giving an insight into the music and story behind the film. Box office: thestreets.co.uk.
Political drama of the week: Mark Thomas in England And Son, York Theatre Royal Studio, September 22, 7.45pm; September 23, 2pm and 7.45pm
POLITICAL comedian Mark Thomas stars in this one-man play, set when The Great Devouring comes home: the first he has performed not written by the polemicist himself but by playwright Ed Edwards.
Edinburgh Fringe award winner England And Son has emerged from characters Thomas knew in his childhood and from Edwards’s lived experience in jail. Promising deep, dark laughs and deep, dark love, Thomas undertakes a kaleidoscopic odyssey where disaster capitalism, Thatcherite politics and stolen wealth merge into the simple tale of a working-class boy who just wants his dad to smile at him. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Print deadline: York Printmakers Autumn Fair, York Cemetery Chapel and Harriet Room, September 23 and 24, 10am to 5pm
IN its sixth year, the York Printmakers Autumn Fair features work by 26 members, exhibiting and selling hand-printed original prints, including Russell Hughes, Rachel Holborow, Michelle Hughes, Harriette Rymer and Jo Rodwell.
On display will be a variety of printmaking techniques, such as linocut, collagraphs, woodcut, screen printing, stencilling and etching. Artists will be on hand to discuss their working methods and to show the blocks, plates and tools they use.
In Focus: Theatre event of the week: Alan Ayckbourn’s Truth Will Out, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, tomorrow, 2.30pm
IN a rare stage appearance, Sir Alan Ayckbourn plays Jim in a rehearsed reading of his Covic-crocked 2020 SJT premiere Truth Will Out, joined by John Branwell, Frances Marshall and the cast of his 89th play, Constant Companions.
Truth Will Out is an up-to-the-minute satire on family, relationships, politics and the state of the nation, wherein everyone has secrets. Certainly former shop steward George, his right-wing MP daughter Janet, investigative journalist Peggy and senior civil servant Sefton do.
Enter a tech-savvy, chippy teenager with a mind of his own and time on his hands to bring their worlds tumbling down, and maybe everyone else’s along with them, in Ayckbourn’s own “virus” storyline, written before Coronavirus stopped play.
“It’s ‘the one that got away’, with most of the cast in place, and we even did a season launch,” says Sir Alan. “The play was one of my ‘What ifs’: what if a teenager invented a virus that brought the whole thing down. A ‘virus’ play, like Covid, with the virus escaping and the play ending in the dark, waiting till dawn.”
Racism, trade unionism and infidelity all play their part in Truth Will Out too. “It’s a melting pot of wrongdoings,” says Sir Alan. Tickets update: limited availability on 01723 370541 or sjt.uk.com.